Saturday, October 6, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: 20 More Questions

Hmm, this week's questions for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun actually require a little bit of thought.

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

(1) Ellen Thompson-Jennings wrote 
20 More Questions About Your Ancestors and Maybe A Few About You this week and Linda Stufflebean thought it would be a great SNGF challenge.  I agree!

(2) Copy the questions from Ellen's post or from my post below and insert your own replies.  Be sure to comment on Ellen's blog so she knows you wrote about it.

(3) Tell us in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a comment on this post with a link to your post.

Thank you to Ellen for her post and to to Linda Sufflebean for suggesting this topic.  If you have an idea for an SNGF topic, please let me know.

Q1:  Why do you love doing genealogy/family history?
A1:  Solving the puzzles.  No two families are the same, so the answers are never exactly the same.

Q2:  How far have you traveled to research an ancestor?
A2:  Only to Connecticut.  But I sent my brother on research in Manchester, England. 

Q3:  What do you think your favorite ancestor would think of our lives today?
A3:  I'm not really sure that I have a favorite ancestor.  If I have to pick someone, I guess it would be my great-great-grandfather Gershon Yitzhak Nowicki (~1858–1948).  His occupation on the passenger list when he arrived was given as wood turner, but in the United States he became a Hebrew teacher.  From what I have been told, he was a pretty lively guy, even right up to the end and apparently adjusted reasonably well to living in this country after moving here at the age of about 64.  I think he would be curious about our lives today and willing to learn new things.

Q4:  What do you think that your ancestor would like/dislike?
A4:  That's a damned good question.  I haven't a clue.

Q5:  What was the most unusual cause of death that you’ve found?
A5:  I can't think of any particularly unusual causes of death that I've found in my own family.  In my half-sister's family, I did find four generations of men who all (but one) died of heart attacks before reaching the age of 60.

Q6:  Which ancestor had the most unusual occupation?
A6:  I must have a pretty boring family, because I don't recall any particularly unusual occupations.  The aforementioned great-great-grandfather, who was marked on his 1922 incoming passenger list as a "likely public charge", probably because of his age, was enumerated eight years later in the 1930 census with the occupation of Hebrew teacher, however, so he was still working at the age of about 72.

Q7:  Have you ever gone to where your ancestor lived and it felt like home even if you’ve never been there before?
A7:  Unfortunately, no.  That happened to me the first time I came to Portland, but I have no family connection to the city.

Q8:  Do you have a distant ancestor (several generations back) that looks like someone in the family?
A8:  Sort of.  I have a copy of a photograph of an unidentified man whom I believe to be my 3rd-great-grandfather, because he bears a strong resemblance to my great-great-grandfather (his theoretical son) and has the distinctive Gorodetsky ears.

Q9:  What is the oldest ancestral photo that you have?
A9:  The oldest photo I have is of my great-great-grandparents Victor Gorodetsky and Esther (Schneiderman) Gorodetsky and their first child, Etta.  It was taken in Kamenets Podolsky, Russia (now in Ukraine), probably about 1890.

Q10:  Did you have an ancestor that had an arranged marriage?
A10:  Not that I know of, although it's likely that some of my Jewish ancestors did have arranged marriages.

Q11:  If you could live in the time period of one of your ancestors what year would it be?  Where would it be?
A11:  About 1834 in Manchester, Lancashire, England, the year after my 3rd-great-grandparents Richard Dunstan and Jane Coleclough married.  I especially would ask Jane who her parents were and where she was born.

Q12:  Which ancestor was married the most times?
A12:  My father and his father were each married three times, but my grandfather also had a long relationship with my grandmother without benefit of marriage, so he probably wins.  Grampa married Elizabeth Leatherberry Sundermeier about 1922, Anita Clarice Loveman in 1953, and Adelle Cordelia Taylor in 1961, and he lived with my grandmother Anna Gauntt from about 1934–1952.

Q13:  If you’ve tested your DNA, what was the biggest ethnicity surprise?
A13:  The 12% Irish ancestry that Ancestry said I have, and then also said that my brother has.  So far I have nothing in my research to substantiate that.  On the other hand, I don't actually believe it, either.

Q14:  Did you have a female ancestor who was different or unusual from other females from that time period?
A14:  My mother, who was not inclined toward domesticity and worked outside the home from the earliest that I can remember.

Q15:  Did your ancestor go through a hardship that you don’t know how they managed?
A15:  Not an ancestor, but a collateral relative.  According to information from the 1900 census, my 3rd-great-grandfather's brother's wife (I said collateral, remember?) had three children who were living, but in 1910 she reported that she had had three children and none of them was alive.  Losing all three of your children within a ten-year period would have to be devastating.

Q16:  How often do you research?  Are you a genealogy addict?
A16:  I do some research almost every day, but even if I'm not researching, I do something related to genealogy every day.  I'm definitely addicted.

Q17:  Do you have someone in your family that will take over the family history?
A17:  Not yet, and definitely not for my own family.  So far the most interest has been shown by my older stepson, in my research into his family.

Q18:  Have you had a genealogy surprise?  What was it?
A18:  By the time I finally got the results of the DNA test it wasn't that much of a surprise, but I did confirm that my paternal grandfather's biological father was not the man his mother married.

Q19:  Are you a storyteller?  What’s your favorite family story?
A19:  I am a pretty good storyteller, which works well when I'm giving genealogy presentations.  My favorite family story is about how my father competed on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour and came in second place to Gladys Knight.

Q20:  What was your greatest genealogy discovery?
A20:  Learning that the Sellers family is descended from Alexander Mack, the founder of the Schwarzenau Brethren (Dunkers), even though I've since learned that I'm not actually a descendant of Mack because I'm not biologically a Sellers.


  1. Cool story about your dad. What did he perform?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. He played piano in a band called the Court Jesters.

  2. Janice, Thank you for answering my questions. I enjoyed reading your answers.

    1. You're welcome, Ellen! I'm glad you enjoyed my contribution.


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